Student?s film on life of Vietnam combat photographer to air on PBS

Alfredo Madrid

Courage is a characteristic that stands out prominently when applied to former veteran Bill Perkins, a San Fernando Valley native who died in the Vietnam War.’ A short film, ‘Above and Beyond The Story of Cpl. William T. Perkins, Jr. USMC,’ created and produced by 58-year-old French major Debora Masterson and her husband, Craig Ingraham, is set to premiere at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6 on PBS.

The documentary revolves around the life of their friend, Perkins, who was raised in the San Fernando Valley and graduated from James Monroe High School in 1965. On Oct. 12, 1967, while serving as a Marine Corps combat photographer in Vietnam, Perkins displayed disregard for his own safety in the place of his fellow Marines by throwing himself on an enemy hand grenade.

The tragedy occurred during Operation Medina, a major reconnaissance mission in the Hai Lang National Forest in Quang Tri. Province, South Vietnam.

Perkins was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest award for valor.’ To date, Perkins is the only combat photographer in American history to have received such a prestigious award.

By 2000, Ingraham had been immersed in the project for five years researching Perkins’ story with the goal of producing a body of work in praise of him.

Eight years later, the collaborative vision between Ingraham and Masterson will air on PBS stations throughout Southern California during the month of November in honor of Veteran’s Day.’ The second airing will occur at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9 on PBS.